Photos series on men’s vulnerabilities

Olga Akhmetyeva

I made these photoshoots in 2010-2011. I had had the idea to take pictures of naked men for a long time without exactly realizing why. The feminist curator who finally appeared in my life, making it a lot more conscious, gave me the green light, so I started working. The first shoot was a curious experience: the man was shy and at the same time tried to fuck me. Why, we had switched roles: I was the man in pants with a camera, and he was the naked woman-object. I took pains to escape objectivity, though — there is no posturing. For me, photography must reflect life – all the pleasure through to fornication, all the hurting acuteness, and it doesn’t matter what the pictures were taken with.

There are a few pictures of a man covered in tattoos — this is Moscow’s Last Punk — he never saw the pictures because he died in 2011. I only had the time to tell him by phone that all the men in the pictures had been considered gay and the pictures had been taken down as ‛propaganda of homosexualism’. We laughed — not one of the three men in the pictures was gay.

My curator stated:

The exploration of men’s vulnerability is a recurrent motive in Olga Akhmetyeva’s documentary photography, and at the same time it is a territory of freedom from the contemporary gender norm, rigidly split in two.

In 2011, Olga Akhmetyeva’s project was dismantled right before the opening following the venue owners’ demand. Individual portraits of men shown outside the stereotypes of masculine behaviour were perceived as ‛homosexual propaganda’ and caused more outrage than the gay pride photos from that hung next to them.

Invitation politix: open to all